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After Democracy: Imagining Our Political Future

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Democracy has long been considered an ideal state of governance. What if it’s not? Perhaps it is not the end goal but, rather, the transition stage to something better. We have lent our cheer and support and sacrificed lives for revolutions meant to place democracy where it does not exist. But change is gradual. Revolutions are long. They have to be long, so as to attain meaning. And revolutions, noble as they may be, often lead away from and not toward democracy. What if democracy is not an ideal state or an end goal? What if there is something better out there, and technology can help us uncover a long-hidden path to it?

We have been through many iterations of democracy. Through each one, we thought we had it right. When we privileged property owners with the right to vote, when we excluded women from the voting process, and when we kept people from voting because of the color of their skin, we naively claimed what we had was a democracy. We have made much progress in advancing equality in our governance systems, but we have not reached perfection and perhaps never will. Bear in mind that in our collective past, we have called many governments democratic that, in retrospect, were not. Democracy has always felt within reach and yet forever out of sight.
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